Wearable Technology in Workers’ Compensation

May 11, 2018

Wearable technology has existed for decades. It is typically embedded in watches, glasses, hearing aids, jewelry, and other types of discrete gadgets. These electronic wireless devices can collect real time data and communicate with people or other devices. A new type of wearable technology has emerged in workers’ compensation.

Some believe it provides valuable information to employers who can use that information to improve workplace safety. However, others see it as an invasion of privacy with dangerous implications for both the employee for presenting a distraction and the employer for corporate security. Either way, wearable technology will play an increasingly important role in workers’ compensation.

Pros and Cons of Wearable Technology

Attendees at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.’s annual conference were presented with information regarding wearable technology. These belt-like devices can now track and measure movement so employers can identify which employees are moving incorrectly and need training to prevent workplace injuries. The executive vice president for global risk management and client services at a Texas infrastructure support services company demonstrated how the technology works.

The executive vice president’s motions were digitally captured and displayed on a screen. He noted that twists and turns are the cause of workplace injuries in virtually every industry; moreover, failing to bend at the knees when picking up large objects is a common cause of lower back injuries. The WiFi-enabled devices track and store information for the employer or may vibrate to let employees know if they are moving dangerously.

Wearable technology not only helps employers to identify training opportunities by monitoring employees’ movements throughout the day. It also helps employees to manage their medical care while recovering from an injury, such as reminding them to take their medication, adjust their posture, or check their vital signs. Wearable technology can detect whether an employee is using equipment or moving incorrectly and notify them, which can prevent aggravation of the injury and expedite the recovery process.

However, for all the benefits of wearable technology, there are also risks involved. Workers wearing the technology may become distracted, which can lead to accidents. Also, there is the potential for hacking the remote control of these devices. A company’s information may fall into the wrong hands or be shared publicly. Data may either be shared wirelessly through smartphones or the wearable technology itself could be plugged into a computer, making it easy for hackers to introduce viruses into companies’ systems or download sensitive information.

Wearable technology appears to be gaining prevalence in the workers’ compensation industry as a means of monitoring and preventing workplace injury. It may be prudent for employers to consider how they can use wearable technology to prevent injuries, detect fraud, and improve recovery, while also taking measures to ensure corporate security.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Injured Workers with Their Workers’ Compensation Claims

If you were injured in a workplace accident, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our knowledgeable legal team can help you navigate the workers’ compensation system in Pennsylvania and provide you with experienced, skilled legal representation. To arrange a free consultation, call us at 1-888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.

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